His life was never easy. Hers wasn't supposed to be this hard. They come from different worlds, but fate lures them together in a way neither expected in Cecy Robson's raw, steamy series debut - perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn.
Evelyn Preston's future once looked perfect - until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and ex-army MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they've led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love.
Mateo wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he's feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid. As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn's past - even if that means tackling his own to save her.
©2014 Cecy Robson, LLC (P)2017 Audible, Inc.
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Critic reviews

"Narrator Mercedes Moreno's blend of serious and seductive tones brings out the complexities of the characters' lives in this spicy adult novel. Evelyn Preston is no longer one of those spoiled rich kids who party at the nightclub Excess. Nowadays, she's hanging onto whatever pride she has by working hard to pay her tuition bills and get through nursing school. Moreno portrays Evelyn in tones of tension and fear, which are caused by her ex-boyfriend and memories of her father, who committed suicide. In contrast to this angst, Moreno uses soft seductive tones whenever Evelyn is thinking of, or in the arms of, Matteo Tres Santos - the nightclub's handsome and commanding bouncer. In her portrayal of Matteo, Moreno provides another balance of tender and tough. His protectiveness of his sisters and Evelyn is contrasted effectively with the tough nature of his job and the demons of his past. Moreno fully succeeds at capturing the provocative moods of this racy novel." ( AudioFile Magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jonetta (Ejaygirl) on 30-04-18

A bigger story than it seems

Evelyn (Evie) Preston is a waitress at a hip nightclub while at the same time attending nursing school and struggling to pay bills. It’s a bit of a comedown from her earlier life as the privileged daughter of a wealthy businessman just three years ago. His suicide following an embezzlement scandal changed everything, let alone personal traumas even she hasn’t fully acknowledged. Mateo Tres Santos is a bouncer at the nightclub, an imposing figure at 6’4” compared to the petite Evie. Circumstances bring these two together despite the chasm of differences but one thing they share is a strong sense of self and personal fortitude.

This book was a slow but growing burn for me. Initially I feared I wouldn’t be able to connect with either character or their relationship not just because of their ages (early twenties) but also because of Mateo’s underground MMA fighting. That’s just not my cuppa and I’ve avoided those stories. However (and it’s a big one), that’s just background and the real story is of two people grappling with real life issues, trying to make the best of their lives and figuring out how to move forward. To say their experiences are reflective of most people’s reality is understating the value of this story. I loved how both just dealt with their circumstances, struggled to create a relationship when most of those around them aren’t betting on them and kept moving forward. Mateo’s family values and cultural norms are a strong part of his identity and I was pleased to see that honestly portrayed. Evie’s issues were tragic and what made her more authentic was how there wasn’t a neat end or solution provided.

It’s a tough story but I eventually came to admire and truly like Evie and Mateo. They’re not stereotypes in any sense of the word and their lives and relationship are not easy. I didn’t think I’d want to continue the series but now I’m too invested to stop here. The narrator did a really good job of giving voice to both characters as well as to the secondary ones. This one is a keeper.

My thanks to Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer for providing me a complimentary copy.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Geybie C. on 09-08-17

A Great Story with A Need To Improve Performance

If you could sum up Once Perfect in three words, what would they be?

Great characters, plot, and romance.

What did you like best about this story?

The Characters, the plot, and the romance.

What three words best describe Mercedes Moreno’s performance?

Overall great

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A great romance with an awesome message

Any additional comments?

I love how the author tackled the sensitive issues this story brought up. It was brilliant and kept me glued to the story. It was rich with information which showed that the author did do some research related to the subject. Besides, it also brought a great message of how to deal with it if you were a victim or knew one who was, which I found very valuable. It made the characters relatable that I wanted to root for.

However, despite the heartbreaking background underlining the story, there was plenty of humor in each scene which made me laugh out loud. The author managed to mix the two really well and brought out all the emotions in me. I was connected to the story as well as the main characters and their issues. I felt for them and rooted for them to find their happily ever after.

I loved that even though the attraction between them was an instant one, their relationship took the time to progress. It was not rushed and perfect considering the heartbreaking situation they have been in. Moreover, I loved how patient, understanding and thoughtful the hero was to the heroine. It showed a perfect example of how everyone should treat others especially the ones they are in romantic relationships with. He did everything beyond any of my expectations and I fell in love with him throughout the story. They both grew together and it showed in how they treated each other.

In addition, I loved that the angst was not overly played. It was perfect without making any of the characters a fool. The drama was interesting and still connected to the main issues. There was no any unnecessary drama just to prolong the story which I often find annoying in other stories. Everything was well-thought and well-maintained, enough to make me keep listening.

The supporting characters were all well maintained as well. Each of their characters shined, showing their unique personalities and the issues they had. I loved the fact that the author didn't make any character a totally bad person without a reason. She showed the reasoning behind their actions, good and bad, and gave us the time to connect with them. I loved that some of the characters were given the moment to redeem themselves. It made the whole story relatable yet became such a lesson to learn at the same time.

I loved the female narrator of the story. She did breath a life into the story. Her voice did match Evelyn's character. Besides, the pace was great. It slowed when it needed to be and became faster when it was necessary. I overall enjoyed it. The only thing, which was, unfortunately, a major one, that bothered me was that fact that the male voices were narrated by a female. I didn't feel connected to it and it took me away at times from the story. I needed some time to get used to it at first and it wasn't easy, to be honest. Had the male characters were narrated by a male voice, it would have left more impact on me.

However, as I said above, I overall enjoyed this story. I loved the characters, the plot, the romance, and the issues this story brought up. The ending was perfect considering this was a new adult. It concluded everything we wanted to know while still opened the door for other characters to grow. I can't wait to read Lety's and Sofia's stories. This is definitely the story every new adult fans would enjoy, which I highly recommend. :-)

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